Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instruction & Curriculum Leadership

Committee Chair

Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw

Committee Member

Andrew Tawfik

Committee Member

Victoria Lowell

Committee Member

Christian Mueller


Student enrollment continues to increase in online programs, but there is concern surrounding the reported high rates of attrition in online classes compared to face-to-face classes. Undergraduate students are poorly prepared and lack the human agency necessary for success in the online learning environment. To address the lack of persistence of undergraduate online students, universities must create and implement interventions that prepare students for the online learning environment and help them develop as autonomous learners. This study examined whether differences in self-regulation, self-direction, and online learning self-efficacy exist between students participating in an experimental high-impact First-Semester Seminar (FSS) class and a traditional FSS class, while controlling for pre-existing factors. A quantitative, quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest research design was used for this study with nonequivalent control groups, and a multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) and follow up analyses of covariances (ANCOVA) were used to analyze the data. A chi-square test of independence was conducted to determine if student persistence differed based on FSS class type participation. MANCOVA results revealed a statistically significant difference between groups. Follow-up ANCOVAs revealed differences between the posttest scores of the traditional FSS class and the high-impact FSS class on the measurements for self-directed learning and self-regulated learning. Persistence was measured using re-enrollment in a course the next semester, and results demonstrated no difference between the two groups. Persistence of students in both groups was over 80%.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest